The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session –
January 12, 2004 - 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206   phone: 325-6789
e-mail:   web site:


The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Mike McInerney, Chair.


PRESENT:       Abraham, Biggerstaff, Bozorgi, Bradford, Brown, Caldwell, Catlin, Cintrón, Davis, Devenport, Dewers, Dohrmann, Driver, Forman, Frech, Halterman, Havlicek, Hayes-Thumann, Henderson, Houser, Huseman, Kauffman, C. Knapp, R. Knapp, Liu, Marcus-Mendoza, McInerney, Megginson, Mendoza, Milton, Pender, Penrose, Ransom, Russell, Scherman, Schramm, Sharp, Sievers, Striz, Watts, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:  Mergler

ABSENT:         Baldwin, Barker, Brady, Burns, Hartel, Newman, Raadschelders, Rai, Rupp-Serrano, Wheeler, Yuan





Announcement:  new senators

Campus Campaign

Regents’ policy manual

Senate Chair's Report:

NEH award policy

Out-of-state tuition waivers for graduate assistants

State regents’ grading policy

Health benefit survey

Faculty hiring/raises

Parking fines

Renewable term faculty






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of December 8, 2003 was approved.





The following faculty members were elected by colleges to the Faculty Senate as of January 2004:

Arts & Sciences –

Peter Barker (History of Science), completing the 2002-05 term of Cesar Ferreira (Modern Languages)

Ron Halterman (Chemistry & Biochemistry), completing the 2002-05 term of Ola Fincke (Zoology)

Susan Sharp (Sociology), completing the 2003-06 term of Kevin Grier (Economics)

Business – Russ Driver (Management), completing the 2002-05 term of William Whitely (Management)

Geosciences – Michael Biggerstaff (Meteorology), completing the 2001-04 term of Mark Morrissey (Meteorology)





Ms. Mary Matlock, assistant director of annual giving programs of University Development and coordinator of the 2004 Campus Campaign, said the campaign had grown a lot over the past ten years.  She handed out a summary of the campaign (available from the senate office).  In 1993, the campaign raised $83,000 and had 357 participants.  Last year had the largest number of participants at 1700, and they gave almost $1.2 million.  Every year the campaign proves to be more and more successful.  Discussing participation on the three campuses, Ms. Matlock said the Norman campus faculty participation rate of 34 percent last year was the highest in the history of the campaign.  The retired faculty and staff gave at a 30 percent participation rate.  The total number of participants rose from 2002 to 2003, but the participation rate was down.  She mentioned the extra events held to raise money and asked the group to send her any suggestions and ideas about those events or the campaign as a whole.  She provided a list of the programs that received gifts last year.  Prof. Megginson asked whether a payroll deduction option was available.  Ms. Matlock said that option is included on the pledge card that is sent to everyone.  Prof. Watts asked about the number of professors who donate to their own departments.  Ms. Matlock said about 85 percent of the faculty give back to their own department.  Last year, the University raised $20,000 for the Sooner Heritage scholarships, which provided over 20 scholarships for students.  At a recent conference of about 200 schools, OU was a leader of on-campus solicitation. 





Prof. McInerney asked Prof. David Levy (History), chair of the ad hoc committee that reviewed the proposed changes in the regents’ policy manual, to give an update on the committee’s progress.  Prof. Levy explained that the OU regents decided to revise their manual because it was too bulky, out of date, and unusable for new members.  The 2002-03 senate chair Ed Cline formed a committee of four Norman campus faculty and three HSC faculty to study the proposed revision and call attention to any matter that seemed to be of direct concern to the faculty.  Three of the four Norman faculty had been senate chairs, and the fourth was and is a member of the senate executive committee, so the committee was quite experienced in matters like this.  The committee gave an 8-page report to the Faculty Senate executive committee in April 2003 that listed four items of general concern and 15 specific items.  The committee concluded that the manual was in need of revision and that most of the changes were routine.  Mostly, the revisions consisted of taking out policies and placing them somewhere else like the Faculty Handbook, student code, and general catalog.  The most dramatic change was the proposed re-definition of faculty.  The term, “general faculty,” would be replaced with “regular faculty,” and renewable term faculty would be considered regular faculty entitled to the privileges of regular faculty, with the exception of voting on tenure.  The committee felt strongly that the Faculty Senate ought to consider the proposal in some deliberative and systematic way.  The committee was also troubled about the repetitive assertion of the absolute power of the board of regents.  There was no mention of the long tradition of consultation, democratic participation, or any constraint in law.  There were also some other specific points. 


In response to the report, the Faculty Senate appointed two committees, one chaired by Prof. Susan Marcus-Mendoza to consider the matter of renewable term faculty, and the second chaired by Prof. Levy to negotiate with the provost about the other matters of concern.  The latter committee consisted of four Norman faculty and one HSC faculty.  This second committee reviewed the manual and report again, isolated eight matters of concern, and met with Provost Mergler on November 25.  In the matter of consultation, the committee thought there ought to be some recognition of the necessity of consultation with the faculty.  The committee recommended that every time this paragraph appeared, “The Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma is constitutionally vested with the governance of the University of Oklahoma.  Included in the powers and duties of the Board is the governance of all policy pertaining to [specific policy being considered],” that the following language be added, “Historically, the Regents have acted in a long and beneficial tradition of consultation with the faculty, particularly on matters touching upon the academic life of the institution.”  Second, the committee thought it was a mistake to remove the charters of the Norman and HSC faculty senates and just have them appear in the Faculty Handbook.  The regents would have no indication that there was such a thing as the Faculty Senate.  The provost asked if the charters could be included as an appendix.  The committee thought that would be satisfactory if a sentence was added at the beginning of the faculty section that said, “Since 1942, the faculty has actively participated in the origination, formulation, and implementation of University policies through a democratically-elected Faculty Senate.  Today there are two Senates, one for the Norman campus and one for the Health Sciences Center.  The charters for these two Faculty Senates may be found as an appendix to the Handbook [regents’ policy manual].”  Third, there was some ambiguity about public outreach.  In some places, it was not clear whether public outreach was part of service or a fourth expectation, along with teaching, research, and service.  The committee asked the provost if she would change the wording so that it was clear that public outreach was part of service.  Other areas involved athletics during final exam week, the financial exigency policy, and the removal of political beliefs from the affirmative action statement.  The provost pledged to include the amendments in the revised manual.  Late last year, the regents asked whether the senate had any objection to their approving sections that dealt with regents’ duties, student affairs, and fundraising.  Since none of the committee’s points touched any of those sections, the committee thought it would be all right.  The regents also wanted to approve the athletics section.  The committee had one concern in that section—that part of a policy was removed from the manual.  However, the committee concluded that the particular paragraph was still enforced as a policy in the athletics council.  The regents have approved those four sections and are waiting for the provost’s submissions to consider the remaining.  Prof. Levy said he thought the negotiations with Provost Mergler were models of civility and mutual understanding and were very gratifying.  Prof. McInerney said he was grateful to Prof. Levy for his leadership on both committees.  The other item related to the manual, the renewable term faculty definition, will be discussed following the chair’s report.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Mike McInerney


“National Endowment for the Humanities has changed its award policy. The award is now made directly to the individual rather than through the university. The university’s policy has been to offset any loss in salary and benefits for individuals that receive such awards. However, if the individual is not being paid by university funds, there is no policy to determine the type of benefits to which the individual faculty member is entitled. Graduate College Dean Lee Williams recommended at the last Deans’ council meeting that the individual faculty member sign the check over to the university and the university would then cover all of the salary and benefits for the individual. This seems like a reasonable solution to the problem, but I would like to get your input. I will establish a committee with individuals from fine arts and humanities to work with Dean Williams and Cindy Cash in the Provost’s Office to develop a policy for this situation.


“The executive committee received several emails concerning the reduction in out-of-state tuition waivers that Dean Williams mentioned at our December meeting. The executive committee feels that this is not a good idea and may be detrimental to recruitment of graduate students in the long term. We are drafting a letter to Dean Williams expressing our concerns about reducing out-of-state tuition waivers.”  Prof. Milton noted that the Department of Physics and Astronomy had sent a memo about the tuition waivers to Dean Williams.  Dean Williams indicated that he had not decided on the issue yet but probably would not reduce the tuition waivers.


“The State Regents are considering a revision to their grading policy. The most significant change is the addition of a third academic forgiveness option, called academic renewal, which allows students who have been out of higher education for a number of years to request all coursework over five years old not be counted in the retention/graduation GPA. The student must present 12 hours of coursework with a grade of C or better in order to petition for this option. This would allow students that did not do well in higher education for whatever reason to have a second chance. This is an option in addition to academic reprieve, where up to two semesters of coursework can be discharged from retention/graduation GPA.  Both academic reprieve and academic renewal are options, not mandates from the State Regents.  Matt Hamilton, Associate Vice President for Enrollment, is looking at how this will affect OU and how OU will implement this policy. Any petition would be sent to the appropriate college for approval.


“The faculty welfare committee sent out a survey to faculty, staff and retirees to solicit feedback on experiences with Health Choice. This information will be useful to the university as it contemplates its options for health care in 2005. It will also be beneficial to Health Choice to know what the concerns of its members are. Please encourage your colleagues to answer and return the survey.


“The next item concerns raises and new positions, in particular whether the university should hire new faculty when there are critical issues related to faculty compensation to be addressed. The executive committee for the College of Arts and Sciences recommended a freeze on hiring in order to address issues related to faculty compensation. The Faculty Senate executive committee discussed this with Provost Mergler. She mentioned that the president has made some prior commitments of positions to new deans. Enrollment pressures and strategic research initiatives also will necessitate new positions. Your input on this issue would be most useful in order for us to make recommendations to the provost and president.


“Staff Senate is considering a recommendation to increase parking fines as a way to offset some of the increases in the cost of permits.  Please let me know whether you think this is a good idea.”





Prof. McInerney explained that a committee chaired by Prof. Susan Marcus-Mendoza had considered the matter of renewable term faculty and had submitted a draft proposal. 


The committee on renewable term faculty recommends that the definition of regular faculty be changed in the faculty handbook as stated in section 3.5 of the proposed revisions in the regents handbook, “Regular faculty appointment(s) to an academic position must be a) a tenure-track appointment (beginning and terminating at a specified date), b) a tenured appointment (beginning with and following the granting of tenure) or c) a ranked renewable term/consecutive term appointment (renewable annually for a fixed term); and must be at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or professor.”


This change in definition will affect all other sections that refer to the regular faculty and in turn will modify the faculty handbook.


The committee on renewable term faculty recommends that a limit on the proportion of renewable term faculty be enacted, as stated in section 3.5.3 of the proposed revisions in the regents’ handbook, “At no time may the number of the ranked renewable term faculty exceed ten percent of the number of tenure-track and tenured faculty on the Norman campus.”


The committee on renewable term faculty also recommends the addition of the sentence, “Renewable term/consecutive term faculty contract renewals will follow the process of the appointing college.”


Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said the committee had met several times and had discussed the issue with the provost and College of Arts & Sciences dean.  The proposal would change the definition of regular faculty to include renewable term/consecutive term faculty at the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor.  The committee also added recommendations that would limit the proportion of renewable term faculty and recognize that contract renewals would follow college process.  The new definition would give ranked renewable term faculty a chance to interact university-wide and be represented on the Faculty Senate.  This type of appointment started in 1992.  Right now, there are about 35 renewable term faculty across 21 different units.  These are faculty members who are full-time on five-year renewable term contracts.  Some are on their second five-year contract.  Because of the way the Faculty Handbook is worded, they have not been included in the definition of regular faculty. 


Prof. Forman pointed out that one department could be overwhelmingly populated with contract people.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza replied that when a department hires faculty, it has to be a department decision, with the approval of the dean and provost.  Prof. Watts said the Fine Arts College had talked about a 10 percent cap for each unit but thought that could hamstring small departments.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza noted that a unit with five people could not hire any renewable term faculty.  Prof. McInerney said the AAUP had made a recommendation on department caps, and it was considerably higher than the university cap.  [Note:  AAUP recommends that “no more than 15 percent of the total instruction within an institution and no more than 25 percent of the total instruction within any department should be provided by faculty with non-tenure-track appointments.”]  He said his suggestion would be that renewable term faculty would not be represented on the Faculty Senate as a separate group, but could run for the Faculty Senate as the tenured and tenure-track faculty do.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said the primary decision would rest at the department level.  Prof. McInerney said, “This is an important issue, so make sure you discuss this with your home departments.  Nationally, there is a lot of concern about allowing renewable term and does it mean the end of tenure.”  He asked the senators to get input from their colleagues and bring those comments and suggestions to the discussion in February.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said the committee wanted to give rights to long-term faculty but also were very much in favor of keeping tenure strong and important.  Prof. McInerney mentioned that Provost Mergler had suggested the 10 percent cap early on.  President Boren told the Faculty Senate executive committee that he is very committed to having a university dominated by tenured and tenure-track faculty and believes in the long term that the way to build a university is by having tenured and tenure-track faculty. 





The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, February 9, 2004, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Karen Rupp-Serrano, Secretary